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Roku and NBCU Had Deal For Peacock That Fell Through After Tentative Agreement

Jason Gurwin

According to those familiar with negotiations, as of a few days ago, NBCUniversal and Roku had reached a deal to carry Peacock on their platform. The two sides reached a preliminary agreement which would have seen an extension of carriage of their 46 TV Everywhere Apps, along with bringing Peacock to Roku.

However, the two sides hit snag in the final details, which one source has termed Roku “reneging” on the deal. Another source familiar with the negotiation said that the two sides had made positive progress, but there was still sticking points around the advertising portion of the deal.

As a result, as earlier reported, NBCU’s TV Everywhere apps will disappear from the platform by late tomorrow morning if no new deal is signed. Roku said in a statement to us that they were directed by Comcast to “delete these channels as early as September 18, 2020.”

If the apps are deleted, we’re told that customers will have to reinstall the apps on Roku if they ever do get reinstated, meaning that NBCU would be starting their app distribution back at zero.

The two sides were already in an extension, as their deal to carry NBCU’s TV Everywhere Apps expired at the end of August. Roku had offered to continue to carry these apps indefinitely under the current terms as the two sides worked for a carriage agreement for Peacock.

Roku says that Comcast “declined our extension offer and so far has also refused fair and equitable business terms for the distribution of Peacock - despite the fact that they stand to generate hundreds  of millions of dollars  in advertising revenue from its distribution on the Roku  platform.”

In order to renew, Roku apparently wanted content for The Roku Channel, ad inventory across the apps (including Peacock), and integration of their ad technology. While those close to the negotiations says these demands were “off-market and unreasonable”, concessions on both sides were made to get a deal done.

Given how close the two sides were to an agreement, we’re told it is not unlikely that they will reach a deal ahead of the deadline tomorrow. But, we’ve heard that given that the TV Everywhere apps don’t represent a material number of streaming hours on the platform, it may not be enough to force Roku’s hand.

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